Music: The Reluctant Heldentenor

To fill the gigantic mold of a Wagnerian hero, a tenor should 1) have a voice big enough and resonant enough to soar over the timpani-tempered Wagnerian orchestra, 2) be robust enough to support swooning Wagnerian sopranos, and 3) preferably be named Lauritz Melchior. At the Metropolitan Opera last week, a topnotch revival of Wagner's Die Walkuere (conducted by Karl Boehm) offered the audience a dramatic tenor who ideally fulfilled the first two requirements and made the third one seem unimportant. The tenor: 33-year-old, Canadian-born Jon Vickers.

Tenor Vickers made an inauspicious Met...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!